tv Your Business MSNBC August 5, 2017 4:30am-5:00am PDT
good morning. coming up on msnbc's your business, lessons of leadership from the united states air force weapons school in nevada, what businesses can learn from the men and women guarding this nation. an entrepreneurial veteran resurfaces military handcuffs into a fashion company. plus, marketing to the needs of cowboys and ranch hands, information to help you grow fast, go far and work smard.
that's coming up next. >> hi, everyone. i'm j.j. ramburg. welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to helping your growing business. for us, a strong leadership may be the difference between the life and death of our companies. for those in the air force, it could be the difference between life and death. we recently visited the exclusive united states air force weapons school in nevada where colonel mike drally is obsessed with ensuring that he trains his students to become the best leaders out there. we wanted to learn what characteristics and values are at the core of their education and how those qualities can translate to the business sector. known as the home of the fighter pilot, nevada's nellis air force base is just a short ride away from all the glitz of the las vegas strip.
it's also home to one of the most prestigious training programs in the military. the united states air force weapons school. twice a year some of the most gifted warriors of the sky are chosen to attend the ph.d. level program there to learn the art of the most advanced integrated combat, across land, air, space and cyber demands. not only do weapons school students become tactical students in all areas of warfare, but they receive an unmatched education in leadership. these air men have to be the best of the best leaders. they are called upon for the most complex and dangerous situations. faced with decisions that are often the difference between life or death. colonel mike drowley has served as commander of the weapons school for the past two years. he believes leaders who have the highest level of integrity can consistently deliver successful results. not only in military, but also in business and in life.
and they all possess these key traits. they're self-less. >> when you go into an extremist situation where lives are on the line, your life is on the line, it's not about you. the very first thing that goes tu your head is what can i do to help? i've got friends, comrades that are on the ground, that are under fire. what can i do to support them? >> they think of themselves as of service. >> the institution is all about you. it's about making you a better leader, a better person, a better tactician, but we're doing that so that way you can give back. it's all about helping others reach their full potential. >> they're humble. >> for every time i'm engaging in my team, i try to do a quick cross-check, am i learning as much as i can, am i checking my ego at the door? >> everybody is fallible and that's part of the learning process. if you have somebody that doesn't own up to those mistakes, that causes you to
lose trust. >> they're approachable. >> there is we want somebody that we can go and talk to and that helps you relate to that leader. >> weapons school graduates become instructors and many serve as advisers to some of the military's most senior leaders. >> it's a pretty amazing transformation. when the students show up to the weapons school, they know they're in for a 5 1/2 month marathon of experiences. >> it's said that you'll never be as smart as the day that you graduate weapons school. so our students feel like they have to conquer the world. >> the lessons learned at weapons school and on the front lines of battle are invaluable. and can easily translate from the military world to the business sector. hire people who are confident in navigating through the unknown, mitigating the unknown in combat is impossible. the same applies to any business center. so building a team of people who can face uncertainty with confidence is critical. >> they have the trust and the empowerment to say even though i'm in the unknown, i know where i need to be going and i've been
empowered to get there. and they have the right sector in place to get to where the leadership has asked them to go. whether you're building an integration strategy for combat or a company, knowledge of all moving parts, players and departments is critical. >> the familiarity has to run pretty deep. you don't want to micromanage, but you want to be able to enable, wherever possible. i'm not a cyber expert, but i know i can make them more advantageous in what they're trying to do. that's where maybe some companies fail is when they're stove piped and they're worried about their own success of their department and it's not integrated with the rest of the strategic vision. >> that's not an option for weapons school students. they must execute an integration strategy that is seamless every time. at the end of their journey, they're put to the test with a keystone mission called joint forceable entry. >> our joint forceable entry mission brings all those capabilities together to do a very complex and difficult mission, which is to drop an airborne force out and own a piece of terrain in hostile
territory for a period of time. and the oevenl way that you're able to do that is if you take everybody's capabilities, you maximize them and integrate the them across the board. >> we want our students to be well versed in how to understand all the mission planning complexities, how to understand all the execution complexities and how to deal with all the contingencies that may potentially arise. >> and when students graduate, they receive the weapons school patch, a badge of incredible honor given to some of the most resilient and remarkable leaders who will stop at nothing to protect our nation's safety. >> old is becoming new again in the hands of these entrepreneurial sisters who are no strangers to the military life. their company recycles old military goods and transforms them into fashionable bags and accessories, employing veteran hes as and giving back to the military community in the process.
>> these bags used to be military tents. the company sword & plough takes old recycled military goods and turns them into bag. not only that, it's owned by and employs veterans. >> we turn them into something rebeautiful with a powerful mission. >> the nunes sisters started their company in 2012 with a kick starter campaign. >> so we've worked with everything from tents to parachutes, to repurposed bdu uniform fabrics to repurpose 50 caliber shell casings. emily is a former u.s. army captain who served in the 10th special forces group. >> sword & plough 'em bodieses this business cycle where we're repurposing this material and giving back and empowering the community from where the bags, materials are coming from. >> according to the bureau of labor sta activity eks, in 2016,
there were 453,000 unemployed veterans. embody. >> we personalitily now how had amazing veterans are to the civilian communities and civilian workforce. so i think the more that we can do to communicate that veterans are assets to civilian workplaces that that is a really huge part of our mission, too. >> the sisters have repurposed more than 35,000 pounds of military surplus and supported more than 65 veteran jobs. >> the fact that we're able to build a business that has a technical body line and give back to the community that we're most passionate about supporting and that we grew up in our empire lives and that emily served in and our dad served in and so many of our family members have been a part of, i think it's an immense feeling of
pride and also joy. >> and they give back even more. sword & plough donates 10% of their earnings to veteran organizations. >> we're excited and hopeful to hear the bags are conversation starters. and i think we just hope that they have the opportunity to share their experiences within their service with the entire civilian community as well as really anywhere that they are because we know their experiences and their leadership and their technical skills is something that everyone can learn from. when we're coming up with ways to move our business forward, we shouldn't be constrained by looking at our own industries for inspiration. for example, they looked at candles and shoe boxes to come up with their signature look. and when steve geisler, owner of a rope making business wanted to grow his company, he took a page out of the book of the fishing
industry. greg up in idaho, there's always been two constants in steve geisler's life. horses and business. >> i always tell people, it's a hobby gone bad. >> when he wasn't working at his father's farm supply and fertilizer business, chances were, you could find him at a local rodeo. it was at one of those events that steve got his inspiration to start his own rope making company, cowboy cordage. >> i was actually in a college rodeo and he had a horse for sale. so i went down and i was looking at the horse and he said, you know, he said i think i sell this kind of rope that you guys used. i said, really? and he said yeah. i said could you show it to me? >> even though it was typically sold for japanese fishing nets, steve knew the rope would be good for his needs with a few adjustments. >> the problem is, those don't
don't rope. it would either come in maybe too soft or too stiff, not really within our specifications to use. and i thought, man, there has to be a way to fix that. so i actually invented a machine to run the rope through to make the rope, no matter how bad it was, we could straighten it and fix it. >> his invention made it possible to customize the rope to specific commerce' needs and resalvage inventory that would have been wasted otherwise. it's made a local customer out of rancher jay hogan. >> they'll make them any way you want them and they know what i want and so i don't got to screw with the ropes when they come. they're just how i want them. >> cowboy cordage is now one of the industry's leading distributors. they sell direct to consumer, but also have their ropes stocked in supply stores like smith & edwards. >> i would think they would be up there in the top five. i know with the poly, they're the main distributors on the coiled stuff. the brand now includes the original rope line, rocky
mountain rope, along with two other brands that they acquired over the years. it's their consistent quality that has the old timers coming back. and the way they reach some of these customers hasn't changed a lot over the years. >> a lot of our industry isn't necessarily on the web yet. we're a little bit behind with the farmers and ranchers. some of them don't even have internet service. so we really wanted to have a nice catalog. we wanted to have our name be out there. >> cowboy cordage has been able to attract new business by constantly updating and growing. first up, their marketing. the internet has opened them up to a whole new customer base, international ones. steve's daughter came on as general manager a few years ago. she says rounding up what the next trend will be isn't an exact science. >> and some of it is going to be great and some of it is going to be terrible and we kind of have to market our way through it. >> marketing isn't the only debate that has benefited from some thinking outside of the box. one of their most successful products was inspired by one of steve's side hobbies.
>> my boys and i, we are competitive shooters. and i was coming home one day and i'm like, you asked about a ah-ha moment and this was it because we all wear shooting glasses similar to these. and it enhances the colors. spi thought, man, if we could get a neon rope and do that, with that would be amazing. and it just really changed a lot of things. >> when it first came out, it absolutely exploded. everyone had to have the crazy colors. and i would say most of the industry, whether it's -- no matter what brand you go to now, everyone has something similar. but the company's biggest influencers have been and always will be their cowboy boot wearing rope throwing core customers. >> the ranching industry, you know, just when it's just gotten a lot bigger in the past couple of years and we've really listened to a lot of our chers and just kind of take what they think would be best for them, everything from the ropes being really soft to the ropes being a certain length that they want. we try to just adapt to the latest trends and get a product out there that they can use.
>> and steve says the best way to know your product is to continue to be your own customer. >> you can't be in the rope industry and not rope. >> seo, search engine optimization can be a scary term for those who simply don't understand how it works, which is most people. but it is so important to come up high on the list when potential xhirs do an online search. many of us, though, simply don't know how to get up there. i rently went to orlando and chatted with specialist chloe spencer who gave me some tools and advice on how to rank high in sbo. >> how important is it for the companies to think about seo snm. >> it's crucial. you need to be building that traffic from the search engines to get the sales that you want. so you need to be ranking in google. >> when you think about seo, how much of it is technical, things that you can do to your site that you might not understand versus hey, have a great site that people love, they'll keep coming back and you will rank higher?
>> it's absolutely about both. you need be creating really compelling content and you need to do those technical seo tweaks, as well, which sometimes you'll need an seo expert to do for you. >> tell me some mistakes you see people make. >> sure. number one is the gut check mistake. this is when you're picking your key words using your gut instead of using tools. so you need to choose your key words based on popularity, but it's offer counterintuitive which synonyms and var aegzs are the best. a few of the top three tools i really recommend are ask the public.com and soovle.com and the best pay tooling is moz.com/explorer. number two is the broken record mistake. you do not want to be stuffing key words repetitively throughout your content. this is against google's guidelines and can get you penalized. number three is the blue light special mistake, having links point to go your site is
crucial, but you do not want to be buyinglings for cheap because it's all about quality, not quantity. so instead, focus on building authoritative trusted links. >> are there any shortcuts to seo? are there tricks that people need to know or is it just, hey, you need to do this over time and really build authority and, again, just have a great site? >> sure. there's definite lay few tips and tricks. for example, i have an seo formula. so seo stands for search engine optimization and you can remember top factors of seo using the same acronym. s is for strategy. tactics are helpful, strategy is the game changer and is your road map to online success. "e" is for expert. you need to position yours an the expert in your industry and only be providing compelling content to your users. and "o" is for on page. off page seo is only half the equation. which is link building. so don't forget about on page
seo, which is your title tags. your key word placement, page speed which is a ranking signal. when you talk about link building, you mean having other people talk about you. google uses that as a sign of, hey, this is an important website. >> absolutely. you need to build up your inbound links, so people pointing to you. >> and so get people to talk about you. it's like public relations. absolutely. that's why you need to compel content so it will increase your trusted links from other sites and building those natural links. >> and how much do i have to pay for an seo consultant? if i'm listening to you and i think this is overwhelming, i don't have to have to think about it myself. >> absolutely. seo are range anywhere from a few thousand a month up to 25 fwrand a month. >> wow. >> so it really, really depends. >> but you get what you pay for. >> right. and there's a lot of information if you're just starting out online that you can learn for yourself. thank you so much. this is really, really helpful.
again, i think it is a scary term for some people who haven't gone into it yet and we all need to be paying attention to it. >> absolutely. thank you for having me. and remember, if i could do it back when i was 14, then anyone can do it. >> when you grow a business or department from the ground up, it can be so hard to let things go. it is normal to want to be involved in every aspect of everything that's going on. but at some point, you have to learn to delegate if you want to scale your operations. so we've got these five ways for manager toes master the art of delegation. one, prepare diligently. if you don't take the time to fully develop your ideas, you risk setting your employees up for failure. think about the budget, the timeline and the end goals before reaching out to your team for hem. two, assign tasks accords to go your employees' strengths. even the best laid plans will fall apart if you choose the wrong person for the job. three, check in, but do not
micromanage. you've already planned your project. you've delegated your task to competent people, so trust them to get the work done. but remember, they say trust but verify for a reason. schedule time to check in with your teams and track their progress so that you can change anything if necessary. four, provide constructive feedsback. even if your employees do a great job on the task you give them, you have to give them feedback. you want them to know what they did well, why they did it well, and what they might need to work on so that they can grow and to better in the future. five, celebrate wins publicly. your employees work hard for your company every day. so celebrate them as often as you can. you don't need to throw a party for every effort, of course, but a little recognition can boost morale and show other employees how you like to see work done. when we come back, why you need to pay close attention to swron line reviews of your business and our brain trust
tackles the tricky question, what do you do when your most productive employee is also the most toxic person in the office? so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what? keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough. there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you! so we're doing it. yes! start saying yes to your company's best ideas. let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. the question we would have with baby boomers, is how can we
come across that they understand going online to look at google reviews is really important for the business. >> the best way to communicate it to baby boomer is communicate the value of being able to read people's minds. i always tell people, the most valuable superpower is to be able to understand what people are thinking about them. we live in a day and age now where it's public and you should be able to check google alerts and other resources to find out what they really think about your company, anti your business. it's market research that is totally invaluable. i think if you communicate it in those terms, everybody will get it. >> this is the brain trust where i get to ask some of the smartest minds in business, people who are really going through it or have gone through it successfully some of the most complicated, trickiest or the most controversial questions. today i have cindy whitehead,
sprout pharmaceuticals, best known for pushing the female viagra through the fda. sold that company for a billion dollars. congratulations. that is so fun to say. >> thank you. >> and sam ski, present of she knows, one of the top five media companies online for women. also run the biggest blogger conference for women as well. you've been there for a while and you've helped the company grow three times? >> three times in revenue, twice -- double in audience reach. >> also congratulations. you guys have really done it. the we we'll talk about today is about employees. i find this to be a tricky one because there is a pat answer everyone gives and i don't think it's the truth of what everyone does. the question is what do you do if your number one employee, the person who, if you had to look back on the last three years, came up with the idea that propelled your company forward. if it weren't for this perp, your company may very well be in the dumps, is also poison when
it comes to culture, right? >> fire them. is that the answer everybody gives? >> that's the answer. >> but i did it. i'll give you an example. it was my number one salesperson in the company. you are never going to live on one person's contribution alone, and it created paralysis of everybody around him. he was so toxic to the culture that nobody else was performing. okay. let me say a baby step version different than that, you have to create competition with that individual. for two purposes, a, because it will keep them at their game and intellectually stimulated. if they think they've always got it in the bag, they're always number one, they're not going to continue to compete. you actually have to have somebody come in who believes they can beat them. and then you start to change it. >> all right. let's take your situation, a salesperson. presumably the fear is this person leaves and revenue goes down 50% or whatever they're responsible for. it's scary. but you can start to fill that
in, right? >> you must fill that in or think how vulnerable you are. if you're dependent on one person as your lone contributor and they're devastating to the culture e specially in small businesses. we talk about cultural in big companies, but in a small business you have one person that doesn't fit and it's complete wli -- it kills it. >> toxic. >> toxic. >> which is why you always want to say get rid of them. i've been in that situation. it's hard. >> i love your decisiveness about that because i'm going to the place of how are we defining toxicity, how old, experienced is the person? maybe we go through a wave of thinking we know everything before we learn we don't know anything. i also think salespeople, and likewise i've managed and rev e revered salespeople for two decades really good salespeople are often very difficult people in my experience. >> can't you also kind of put them on the side? >> yes, if they're individual
salespeople. if they're managers -- toxicity is i think untenable in a manager and speaks to things that are probably not going to wrk out in the workplace. but i think that it is rehab -- you can rehab toxicity in some situations. we talk about this, but i go with do i like this person, do i trust this person, do i respect this person? if you have two of those -- toxicity to me dwrushlly relates to trust. >> let's just say you trust them, you like them, but no one else on the team can relate to them. >> i think i like the competition idea. >> that's right. >> not knocking them down in a malicious way, but humanizing them to everybody else. my feeling is, if there's toxicity, it's a lack of humility, particularly if they're a particular star contributor and they can start to disconnect. >> bad communications skills. >> fair enough. >> but i think creating some humanity around them, a couple
shots at them that brings them down to everybody else's level. >> give them a more challenging task. sometimes we get so comfortable it's easy to manage that person, easy for him to communicate quickly, rapidly with me, but maybe their job isn't hard enough, which tends to turn us into far -- in my experience, worse versions of ourselves. maybe if you give them a herculean task that will cause them to struggle and have to reach out. one thing i wouldn't do is telling them to not be a jerk never works. explaining to them how they hurt other people's feelings never works. it's got to be intrinsic, not extrinsic. they have to feel like they need somebody else and they do need somebody else. >> what i get from this is don't send them out for coffee. bad idea. thank you both. >> one of the apps we use at fpg
is called groupme. it allows us to have a social component where we're talking and communicating together. for example, we have a daily theme like frick inawesome friday where we talk about how awesome we are and what we did that caused success in the organization. >> one of the apps we just recently started using is called refersion. it's an app to set up an affiliate program. a big part of our business is referrals. we get a lot of refls from word of mouth and they want to refer it to other people. we thought of a way to provide an incentive for other people if they want to share the product. refersion allows you to set up an affiliate program. when somebody signs up, they get their own dashboard. they're able to track sales and track commissions and all of the payments are made seamlessly through paypal so people who want to share the product and want to share it with other people, they can get an incentive for doing that.
>> personallyici like the app dark sky. it's a weather app. it's pretty accurate until almost a minute, it will alert me based on my gps and area if it's going to rain in a couple minutes, it will tell you, hey, take cover, you're about to get rained on. >> this week's yourbusinessselfie features grammy winner turned entrepreneur. art school, the victory spot in fayetteville, georgia, was created by speech, the leader of arrested development. you probably remember their big hit "tennessee." they have classes in dancing, acting and it teaches people how to play instruments as well. all of you out there, we would love to see your business. pick up your phone, take a selfie of you and your company and send it to us at email@example.com or tweet it to @msnbcyourbiz. don't forget to use the
#yourbizselfie. thank you for joining us today. we'd love to hear from you. if you want to get in touch with us, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. you can go to openforum.com slash yourbusiness. we posted all the segments from today's show. please connect with us on all our digital and social media platforms, too. we talk on there all week long and give you more information. we look forward to seeing you next time. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods.
you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. morning glory america. i'm hugh hewitt. you hear me monday through friday on the salem radio network. every saturday morning you hear me right here on msnbc. my guest this morning is in many headlines right now. lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster is president trump's national security adviser. in his long career as a warrior, he's received the silver star and two bronze stars and fought in both iraq wars and in afghanistan, has made him one of the most experienced voices around president trump. it has also made him a target most reny